If you are facing an unplanned pregnancy and considering adoption, this is likely a difficult time for you. You deserve an adoption professional who will provide the services, support and peace of mind you need to feel confident in your adoption decision and comfortable with the process. By choosing the right adoption professional, you can ensure your needs are met and your adoption is completed according to your wishes.

Read on to learn about three common types of adoption professionals, so you can choose the one that is right for you.

ADOPTION ATTORNEYS

An attorney is required in every adoption to complete the necessary legal steps of the process. However, if you are an expectant mother seeking an independent adoption (in which you do not use an agency’s services), an attorney or law firm like MyersStrickland may be the only professional you need to complete the entire adoption process.

In addition, adoption attorneys offer the following advantages for prospective birth parents:

  • They are regulated by their state bar organizations and are experts in state adoption laws, so you can be assured that your legal rights and interests are being represented through every step of the process.
  • They offer many of the same services as adoption agencies and can refer you to trusted professionals for any additional services you may need, such as matching or adoption counseling.
  • Your adoption attorney represents your interests only and will advocate for your needs and wishes in your adoption plan.
  • Because you will likely choose to work with a local adoption attorney, you may have the opportunity to meet with your adoption professional in person throughout the process.

Before choosing to work directly with an adoption attorney, however, you may also want to consider the following:

  • Your attorney may have to refer you to another adoption professional if you decide you need certain services, such as matching or counseling.
  • Without an agency’s matching or contact mediation services, you may be required to have a more open adoption and take a more active role in the adoption process; expectant mothers who are hoping for a more private or closed adoption may need to work with an agency.

While independent adoption is not right for everyone, it’s important to consider how these additional factors might actually be advantageous for you. For example, while you may be uncertain about open adoption at first, you may find that getting to know your baby’s adoptive parents actually helps you feel more confident and positive about your adoption decision.

If you choose MyersStrickland as your adoption professional, we will provide the information, support, services and referrals you need through each step of the process to ensure your rights and interests are always represented and you have the best adoption experience possible.

ADOPTION AGENCIES

Adoption agencies are licensed, regulated organizations that provide a wide variety of services to expectant mothers as well as adoptive families. These organizations may be national, meaning they work with prospective birth mothers across the country, or they may be local, meaning they are licensed in a particular state and focus only on clients in that particular state or region.

Local and national adoption agencies can both offer many benefits for women considering adoption, including:

  • They are licensed and regulated organizations, meaning they are reviewed regularly to ensure they are following state laws. However, it is important to ensure that your agency is licensed specifically in Arizona; even if you choose to work with a national professional licensed in another state, they may be breaking the law by providing certain services to you in Arizona.
  • They can provide most of the services you need during the adoption process and can coordinate your legal representation for you. Most agencies also have dedicated social services departments and employ licensed social workers and counselors who can provide the emotional support you need throughout the adoption process.
  • If you have not already found adoptive parents for your baby, an agency may be the best professional to provide the screening and matching services you need.

However, while adoption agencies can provide some of the most comprehensive services for prospective birth mothers, there are some important challenges to take into account:

  • Not all agencies are created equal, and they may differ significantly in the services they offer, the availability of their adoption counselors, the number of waiting families they work with, and more. It’s important to carefully research several agencies before choosing the one that can best meet your needs.
  • It is also important to select an agency that is licensed in Arizona. If you choose to work with an agency that is not licensed by the state, they are acting as a facilitator, which is not legal in Arizona and could put your adoption at risk.

When you choose the right adoption agency, these professionals can provide excellent services and guidance throughout the adoption process.

However, remember that as an expectant mother, it is also possible to complete the adoption process without the use of an agency. If you choose to work with an attorney like MyersStrickland, we can provide most of the necessary adoption services and refer you to another trusted professional to meet your matching or counseling needs.

ADOPTION FACILITATORS

Finally, you have the option of working with an adoption facilitator or “adoption law center” — an unlicensed, unregulated organization that can help you find adoptive parents for your baby.

These organizations focus exclusively on matching services and often work with a large number of adoptive families. They can probably help you quickly find a waiting family that fits with your adoption plan — but they can also pose serious risks to your adoption plan. Here’s what you need to know before hiring an adoption facilitator:

  • They are not legal in Arizona, and there could be legal consequences when working with one. The judge could refuse to grant the adoption, disallow the adoptive parents from paying your living expenses, or otherwise delay the legal adoption process — meaning your adoption may not be completed according to your wishes.
  • They don’t offer all of the services you need. Your adoption attorney or agency can not only help you find an adoption opportunity, but they can also provide other important services, like legal work, counseling, and more. An adoption facilitator only provides matching services, which means that even if you choose to work with one, you will eventually need to find an agency or attorney to complete the adoption process.

Because adoption facilitators do not provide the services you need, and because of the legal risks they pose, it is often best to work directly with an adoption attorney or Arizona-licensed agency to complete your adoption. These professionals will help you understand the adoption process, ensure your legal rights are represented and provide the services you need to safely complete your adoption plan.

TIPS FOR CHOOSING AN ADOPTION PROFESSIONAL

Every woman’s situation is different, and there are many factors to consider when choosing the adoption professional that is right for you. As you continue to research your options, the following suggestions may help:

  • Assess each professional thoroughly. Research each individual attorney or agency you are considering and compare the services and support they can offer you as a woman considering adoption.
  • Ask questions. Ask every adoption professional you are considering how they are licensed and regulated. If an agency is not licensed in Arizona, they may be acting as a facilitator in your adoption.
  • Talk to an attorney. You can contact MyersStrickland at any time, for free and with zero obligation to proceed with an adoption plan. We can provide additional information about state adoption laws, your rights, and the adoption process. And, if you are struggling to find the right adoption professional for you, we can refer you to an Arizona-licensed adoption agency you can trust.

For more information about MyersStrickland’s adoption services, state adoption laws, and other professionals who can help you complete the adoption process, contact us at any time.